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The Métis in Western Canada: O-Tee-Paym-Soo-Wuk

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The BeginningsThe People and Their CommunitiesCulture and Lifeways
Toys (rattles, dolls, games)


The Métis dolls were likely made out of what they had around them. They were probably leather dolls, as well as the crocheted, knitted and fabric dolls. There were likely balls in the Métis toy box, as the Cree had balls they played used in games. There were miniature objects like the parents’ tools. There would have been miniature canoes, toy guns, and wooden knives. We know the girls had miniature cradleboards because we have examples of them. They must have had some form of dolls that they put in the cradleboard. Once china-headed dolls were available in trade, they would have been purchased for the girls.

One example of what parents did for their children was found in a HBC journal. A father, a fur trade post master, ordered a fancy red Spanish child’s saddle from London for his child. So, much like other items, Métis children would have had access to European toys and clothes as well as Aboriginal toys and clothes. Their baby toys were probably aboriginal, including rattles, balls and dolls. Older children probably moved fairly quickly into the adult world, and a lot of their play would have taken place in the context of their chores. Their horses were companions, and chores like berry picking became family / community outings, like huge picnics. Another example of this type of quick transition is the naming of personal items.

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Tools (snowshoes, traps, scrapers)

Toys (rattles, dolls, games)

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